PARTNERS IN CRIME
My project focuses on same-sex couples that have been living together for an extended period of time, eighteen years on average. The idea was inspired by late nineteenth-century wedding portraits and the professional techniques employed in them (large format camera). While most of the earlier works were produced as cabinet cards, shot in studios with artificial backgrounds, my reconstructions are in color, taken in the couples' homes. The purpose is to demonstrate the mundane quality of what can only be seen as a marriage setting. In these photos, though, I am trying to capture the public face that society mandates for same-sex couples. These couples appear to be both physically and emotionally disconnected because in many ways, both subtle and overt, that is how they are told they should behave. Thus in conflating images of stiff, traditional marriage poses and contemporary domestic spaces, I have sought to normalize what is still, at best, a hotly contested relationship in American society.
The vexed attitudes about gay marriage in this country contrast sharply with European perspectives on the subject. The legalization of same-sex marriages is being considered in many E.U. countries at the moment; England is the latest to grant full legal status, which had already been passed years ago in Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain. Much closer to the U.S., Canada gave its imprimatur within the last year. My hope is that these photographs cause some viewers not only to revisit and rethink the subject but even to change their minds about it. It appears to me a matter of basic equalityÑand basic human rights.